Monday, November 11, 2013
Usually when Jen and I go out I perform the role of Designated Driver and that Friday night was an evening when I performed that role. Prior to leaving, Jennifer expressed her plan that I would get up in the morning and take Mia to horse riding lessons at 9. My daughter Lauren would accompany us and I would then take her to soccer. I would watch Laurens soccer game and then I would pull Lauren early from the soccer game and take her to rock climbing in Woburn at 12:00. Then I would drive back in time to coach my daughter Mia’s soccer game at 1:30, warm-ups start at 1:00.
Since I wanted to give my wife the gift of sleeping in, I agreed to buy into this plan. I could see no other way to accomplish all that we were trying to do, but I knew that it was high risk that I was in Woburn at 12:00 when I needed to be in Hamilton at 1:00, but the reward seemed to outweigh the risk, so I chose to agree to the plan. The importance of my buy in will become clear later.
The first speed bump happened right after my morning meditation. I woke my 13 year old Lauren to come with me and she refused. She said she would get a ride from a friend. Agreeing to this change seemed low risk, but if she did not get a ride I would shoulder the blame for ruining the plan. My mind did some calculations and I decided to let her try to acquire her own ride which would give her some extra down time.
The ride to horse and the soccer game went smoothly. I enjoyed watching the game and conversing with the other parents. I walked around the field and got Lauren 10 minutes early from the game and we drove to the rock climbing gym in Woburn. Lauren wanted to stop for D&D. I knew the clock was ticking, but in my mind I perceived we still had enough buffer time, so I agreed.
The drop off at the rock climbing gym also ran long. I need to fill out paper work and sign a waiver. My daughter was also not thrilled about being left in Woburn alone, but I explained my situation and she said that she understood.
Then things got interesting. The traffic from Woburn was slow up until Peabody and then ground to a halt. The time was about 12:30. I had 30 minutes to get to the field for warm-ups. The car inched forward. 10 minutes passed, then 20. My eye consciousness then perceived an orange light that appeared on the dash board in the shape of a gas pump. My mind made a calculation that I had one gallon of gas left and that I had about 30 miles available. It would be close, but if the traffic cleared I would have enough time.
Then the thought arose: “Where is this traffic coming from?” My mind figured it was probably the North Shore mall. Then another thought. “Why was I even here in the first place? Why did I have to run this errand? My priority was to coach Mia’s game.” I let that go too. My mind had bought into this plan to help others. That is the meaning of life. We are all interconnected. Despite possibly causing some harm to others by being late to the game (when I had the equipment in my trunk) my intentions were good. The only way I could experience failure on this mission is if I allowed thoughts of “me and mine” to cloud my judgment. If I let thoughts of desire and self-righteousness go on then I would say something negative to Jen at the game or later.
Then I got a signal from my bladder that there was urgency there. Oops, too much coffee. I am aware of where the term “pissed off” comes from. So I made a conscious effort to let that go and be mindful of the sensation. When I neared the Peabody exit I found the source of the traffic snarl. It was the weekend before Halloween; the traffic was for the thousands of people trying to get to Salem. I cruised by that exit at close to 1:00. I gambled that I would have enough gas and I was rewarded by cruising into the parking lot at 1:10. I could see our assistant coach sprinting across the parking lot and the girls were lined up in front of the goal waiting for the soccer balls. I parked and hustled over with the soccer balls. The girls accepted the soccer balls and started their practice. Not one person commented on my tardiness.
I jogged over to the porta-potty to try to take care of the bladder messages. I perceived that I was cut by two parents and children, so I had to abort that effort and go back into line and check in with the referee. After check in the porta-potty was free and that issue was resolved. Next my daughter went on to score 5 goals in the first half and the Generals cruised to an easy victory.
The last challenge came later, when I found out that 2 of Lauren’s friends had gone home after the soccer game and joined the Birthday party caravan, so much of the hustling of the morning could have been avoided. I tried to breathe when I heard that news and did not blame anyone for the events of the morning with my speech, but I can’t be sure about my body language, because I know that the thoughts arose. :)
This was an example of how I try to put my mindfulness into practice and see the Dharma in all experiences and exchanges. I also believe that I experience different agents operating in my mind based on past experiences and it is through mindfulness that we can retrain our mental agents and produce results that are in the highest interest of all concerned.